JOHNNYSWIM and Abe Parker create relaxed vibes with alternative, folk music

Kayla Ebner | Editor-in-Chief

Starting a band with a person you have a crush on may seem like an uncommon way to get a date, but for JOHNNYSWIM, the featured artist at CEN’s Fall Concert on Sunday, Sept. 2, it worked out perfectly.

The duo is composed of Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez, who began writing and singing together years ago when they met in Nashville, Tennessee. They are now married with 3-year-old son, Joaquin, and a new baby girl named Luna.

“I think mostly we wanted to date each other,” said Sudano. “That definitely came in handy.”

Ramirez agreed, adding: “I just wanted to be alone with her.”

The couple is now on tour together and even performed in front of Congress last year.

At the concert on the rugby field, the duo followed Abe Parker, lone performer from Blue Rock, Ohio who awed the crowd with his use of looper pedals that created the beats behind his smooth vocals.

Parker also gained part of his success in music due to love. After living in Atlanta for some time, he was ready to pack up and move back home after his home was broken into and all his recording gear was stolen… but he had a date to go on first. He married the lucky girl, now Sarah Parker, in April of last year.

“She is literally the reason why I’m still doing this,” said Parker.

Both JOHNNYSWIM and Parker agreed that one of their favorite parts of performing for a live audience is when they are completely consumed in the music, and they can sense the audience is feeling the same way.

“As you let a song affect you as a performer, you watch a difference in the crowd happen,” said Ramirez. “My favorite part about performing is that it’s alive.”

Parker agreed, noting that although the feeling may not be something that happens a lot, he loves when the audience is on the same wavelength.

“When you’re just really really feeling a certain vibe or emotion, and then you know that other people are feeling the same thing and there’s this communication that’s being made on a totally non-verbal level, just an emotional level,” he said. “That’s probably one of my favorite things.”

Around 400 students attended the concert, and those who attended were definitely feeling the vibes the artists were putting out.

Senior Erin Durning is a fan of JOHNNYSWIM and said she likes how Sudano and Ramirez sound together. When the duo asked for song requests, she jumped at the chance and asked them to play one of her favorite songs by them, “Touching Heaven.”

“I already knew a good amount of their music prior to the concert so I was excited to see them live,” said Durning. “They are such genuine, cool people.”

The concert was put on by RWU’s Campus Entertainment Network (CEN). Alec Gesualdi, Co-Chair of the Traditions Committee, explained that JOHNNYSWIM was recommended by the sister of fellow co-chair, Sarah Durning. After listening to their music, they jumped at the chance to bring them to campus. CEN met Parker at a convention and were happy when they were able to book him for the fall concert, one of the many big events put on by the organization throughout the year. 

For more information on how to get involved with CEN to plan fun events on campus, visit their table at the involvement fair on Wednesday, Sept. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.